It was a magnificent day for Chaz Davies who stepped back onto the top of the victory podium today at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California for the first time in fifteen months, since Aragón 2018.
After taking part in his 200th World Superbike race in the morning’s Superpole Race, the 32-year-old Welsh rider notched up his thirtieth win in the championship with a superb performance in Race 2, dominating from start to finish and crossing the line three seconds ahead of his main rival, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki).
It was on the other hand a weekend to forget for team-mate Álvaro Bautista. In the Superpole Race, reduced from 10 to 8 laps because of a red flag, the 34-year-old Spanish racer crashed at Turn 2 after a contact with Turkish rider Razgatlioglu. In the crash Bautista suffered stretched ligaments in his left shoulder, but after the OK from the circuit medical staff, he lined up on the grid for the start of Race 2. Unfortunately, because of the pain and a lack of strength in his left arm, he had to pull into the pits and retire after the opening lap.
Today’s win and the two second places achieved this weekend, allow Chaz to move up to seventh place in the championship with 184 points, while Bautista, who failed to score one point, remains in second place with 352 points. The next round of the Superbike World Championship will take place in two months’ time at the Autodromo dell’Algarve in Portugal, from 6th to 8th September.
To commemorate Carlin Dunne, the American rider tragically killed in the Pikes Peak race two weeks ago, Ducati will put up for auction the #005/500 Panigale V4 25° Anniversario bike presented on Friday at Pebble Beach, while Chaz has decided to contribute to the auction by adding the leathers with which he won today’s race, in their special commemorative livery.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 2nd / 1st
“This win really means a lot to me, because it’s been a long hard season so far. The last time I won was almost a year and a half ago and it gets to a point where you wonder whether you can still win or not. It’s just proof that if you keep plugging away and working hard then the results sooner or later will come and today was that day. Finally, we got it right, my team did an excellent job, in particular at the end of the FP1 session on Friday morning when we made a big change to the bike’s set-up. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I had the pace to win though, because Johnny’s pace in race 1 was strong and consistent while I chose the wrong tyre. Even so I wasn’t sure if this tyre would make the difference. I’m very happy and thrilled to get this result going into the summer break and we will all certainly celebrate tonight!”
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #19) – DNF / DNF
“I really feel bad about what happened today. At Turn 1 in the Superpole Race, Razgatlioglu completely closed my line and I couldn’t do anything to prevent his rear wheel from hitting my front. His move ruined both of my races today because I injured my left shoulder in the crash. I was taken to the medical centre and after checks, I was given the OK by the doctors to try and take part in Race 2, seeing as the X-ray showed that nothing was broken. Unfortunately, after just one lap I realized that the pain was too much for me to ride because as I didn’t have any strength in my left arm I wasn’t able to brake in the left-handers, and for this reason I came into the pits. I’m very sorry because we are working really well and always find the way to go fast, but in any case we’re going through a really difficult time at the moment. I’m sure that if we continue to work in this way, we’ll come back stronger than ever and with even more desire to win. As soon as I get back home, I’ll have more detailed checks done on my shoulder ligaments, but luckily two months’ break before the next race will surely allow me to fully recover.”